New Ryan Murphy series ‘The Politician’ features Broadway star Ben Platt
Ryan Murphy’s latest series, “The Politician,” is quite the captivating high school drama. Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) plays the titular politician, a high school senior named Payton Hobart, who will do whatever it takes to become the senior class president even if it means letting other people suffer.
Of course, this is a Ryan Murphy series, so like “Glee” and “American Horror Story” and many of his other shows viewers can expect plenty of drama, a splash of panache and at least one musical number. Oh and Jessica Lange of course.
Payton has a dream to one day become the president of the United States and he’s not taking that dream lightly; he has groomed his pals into a fierce staff and already has his First Lady lined up. When Payton finds out that his friend and part-time hookup is running against him for student body president — which he sees as the first step to the White House — he cranks up his intensity to 11 and demands that River quit his run. After River’s sudden death, the political circus kicks into overdrive when River’s girlfriend and Payton’s nemesis Astrid throws her hat into the presidential ring.
At this point the series goes completely bananas. Audiences can expect assasination attempts, betrayals, political intrigue, kidnapping and more as the student election at St. Sebastian goes completely off the rails. The serious tone of the student election echoes the diabolical drama in the ’90s classic “Cruel Intentions,” however the quippy dialogue and political references keep the show from veering too far into ruthlessness. Audiences will find themselves captivated by Payton’s calculated movements to maneuver himself into the presidential seat while trying to understand how his ambition prevents him from accessing his feelings and dealing with his grief about River. Audiences are also sure to enjoy Platt’s soaring musical presence.
Platt provides an outstanding performance as he deftly navigates the swinging tides of Payton’s ambition and his complicated relationships with other people. Lange shines in the brassy and mercurial role of Dusty Jackson, the overly doting grandmother who missed her shot at fame. Zoey Deutch provides an amusing portrayal as the bubbly and childish Infinity Jackson. Gwenyth Paltrow’s performance as Payton’s adopted mother, Georgina, provides a sense of balance for Payton’s electric presence.
“The Politician” has one season available on Netflix. Viewers might also enjoy Netflix’s twisty exploration into grief in “Dead to Me.”